Pedestrian Walkway Banners Highlight UT’s Culturally-Based Greek Organizations

New banners along Pedestrian Walkway are on display until September to celebrate the university’s cultural-based fraternal organizations (CBFO).

The 11 chapters highlighted on the banners are a part of the university’s Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) and the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).

UT has four Greek councils: the Interfraternity Council; Panhellenic Council; MGC which includes historically South Asian and Latina organizations; and NPHC which has historically African American organizations. Although culturally based, they are not culturally exclusive organizations.

The first NPHC organization on campus was established in 1970 and MGC in 2001. Since these fraternities and sororities do not have houses, the banners have helped enhance their visibility across campus and showcase their values of culture, academic achievement, community service, leadership, and lifetime brotherhood and sisterhood.

Tenea Lowery, assistant director in the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life, developed the idea after seeing sustainability banners on campus.

“I thought it would be great to have banners on campus to raise awareness of cultural-based fraternal organizations,” said Lowery. “Students say they hear that these organizations are on campus but don’t see them often, so this was the perfect opportunity to showcase them.”

Lowery said she has received numerous calls and messages from students and alumni who are excited about the banners.

Raising Awareness

Mario Grant, a senior studying supply chain management and the president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, hopes the banners help the council establish a new and bigger campus presence.

“Seeing the banners on Pedestrian Walkway made me feel valued. As we proudly represent our respective organizations day in and day out, it means so much for our university to echo in support,” he said. “It is my hope that these banners prompt people to ask questions to inquire more about the councils. It’s more than just acknowledging the diversity of councils. The next step is to incite curiosity and share the unique interstices of our organizations.”

The banners will appear in other campus locations throughout the academic year, including Homecoming Week and the beginning of the spring semester. Long term, the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life is working to identify ideas for permanent displays to be placed on campus for the NPHC and MGC organizations. The displays could serve as a space for inclusion, value, and identity for CBFOs and a way for others to learn about the organizations’ historical presence on campus.

How to Get Involved with the Councils

As a new academic year approaches, the councils want to encourage all members of the campus community to get involved if interested. Those who would like to learn more about the two councils and meet current members are invited to register for Meet the Greeks at 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 23, in the Panhellenic Building.

Departments, organizations, or individuals interested in learning more about the two councils or requesting educational presentations about CBFOs can contact OSFL Assistant Director Tenea Lowery at tlow@utk.edu.